Lights, camera, action: Iran's filmmakers take on the US

Lights, camera, action: Iran's filmmakers take on the US
3 min read
16 Feb, 2017
A fictional animation film that sees Iranian forces defeat the US is due to be released, amid very real tensions between the two countries.
The Iranian navy is one of the most formidable in the region [AFP-file photo]
An animated figure representing Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani gives the order for ships to open fire on a US fleet. Seconds later and silos open with a barrage of rockets and torpedoes speeding toward the American vessels.

As this is an Iranian animation, the missiles unsurprisingly hit their target with ease and three US war ships are obliterated before sinking in the water.

"When you enter hell, tell them Qasem sent you," Soleimani tells the American sailors in an animated film where Iran is pitted against the US. 

For those who don't want to know the ending of Battle of the Persian Gulf II look away now:

"[The American sailors] all sink and the film ends as the American ships have turned into an aquarium for fishes at the bottom of the sea," Farhad Azima, director, told Reuters.

The 88-minute animation was four years in the making, but its release has been perfectly timed.

After former US President Barack Obama agreed a nuclear deal with Iran, the two countries saw relations at their best in four decades. 

Following the election of hawkish Donald Trump and his anti-Iranian cabinet, relations have been reset and the war drum has been banging in both countries.
The film is due for release in Iran [YouTube]

US President Trump has put Iran "on notice" and warned Tehran he won't be "soft" like his predecessor, after Iran test-fired a ballistic missile.

It has been a boon for conservatives in both countries, and seen a return of fiery anti-US sermons from Iranian leaders and anti-Trump rhetoric in the state-controlled media.

"I hope that the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran," said Azima.

Growing power

Despite Battle of the Persian Gulf II fitting very much with the zeitgeist in Iran, the director insists the film was not funded by the Tehran government.

Yet there is no doubt that conservatives will be pleased with the message and hope it strikes a patriotic chord with Iranian youth who are often cynical of the regime's propaganda.

The film starts with a US airstrike on an Iranian nuclear reactor but ends with a humiliating defeat for the American forces in the region.

The star of the film is Soleimani, the controversial commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's overseas Quds Force, helping prop up the governments in Syria and Iraq.

Soleimani has been spotted in hot spots such as Aleppo and Fallujah and a symbol of the growing confidence and strength of Iran in the region.

His Quds Force was fundamental in helping Bashar al-Assad's regime turn the tide in the Syrian war, and pro-Tehran militants were key to the recent defeat of rebels in East Aleppo.

The Syrian regime are beliebed to be hugely reliant on Iranian militias on the battlefield and heavily indebted to Tehran.

In Iraq, Iranian-backed militias have also been key in the campaign against the Islamic State group. Again, Soleimani has been a symbol of Iranian strength in the country.

Azzam told Reuters than he hopes the film will show young Iranians the growing "power of their country", and claims it is a response to Hollywood's anti-Iranian bias.

"Hollywood has created many films against Iran; There are many computer games in which US soldiers conquer our country. We made this film as an answer to that propaganda," he said.

Given the current tensions, most young people in Iran and the US will hope the film won't become a reality.